MARIETTA, OHIO (September 11, 2017)—A solemn group gathered on the front lawn of Washington State Community College Monday morning. More than 100 community members, students, faculty and staff stood sentinel before the waving American Flag and remembered. They remembered the dreaded events of 9/11.
Some remember the tragedy differently than others because on the campus of WSCC, for some 9/11 is history, while to others it’s a day etched into their minds. To Dalton Rice, a College Credit Plus Student and a Junior at Shenandoah High School, the memory exists in only what he’s been told. “I was only 1 [years old]. I don’t really remember it, but I know it was really bad.”
For Amanda Stilgenbauer, one of WSCC’s Americorp College Guides, confirmed it’s a day she will never forget. On that day she awoke to the news of the attacks. The crash of American Airlines Flight into Pentagon filled her with the most fear because that was where her daughter’s grandmother was working. Unable to make contact, Stilgenbauer and her family immediately began to race toward Washington D.C. “I’m not sure what we thought we could do. We just wanted to get there.” To her relief, two hours into their journey, they received a phone call confirming Grandma was safe.
“As time goes on, our memories will naturally fade,” said Brian Giesey, Director of the Washington County Veterans Service Commission and speaker at the ceremony. “But in the case of the tragedy that occurred on September 11, Patriot Day was created as a response to help us never forget.”
Stilgenbauer, who played an integral part in the planning and preparation for this ceremony, explained the significance of the annual event. “It’s important to honor the Veterans and 1st Responders for their service, not just for their service that day, but for the sacrifices they make every day.”
In reflecting on the tragic events of 9/11, Giesey turned his thoughts toward the future. “Sixteen years ago ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit. In the time since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe. In their memory, in their name, we must remain strong. We must protect the country we love and pass it safer, stronger, and more prosperous to the next generation.”
The annual commemorative event, coordinated by WSCC’s Veterans Club and Ameri-corps College Guides also included hope-filled words from WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood and Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews, a flag ceremony was conducted by Marine Corps League Sgt. Bob O’Malley Detachment 1436, Honor Guard was provided by American Legion Post 64 and a 21-Gun Salute from VFW Post 5108. Following the ceremony, Washington County Veterans Service Commission & Mid-Ohio Valley Veterans Outreach provided a luncheon for attendees.
For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.